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TOPIC: Ultra light-wind short boards ?

Ultra light-wind short boards ? 1 year 8 months ago #1

Currently sailing a 120 Atomic, but looking for something that will plane even earlier.

JP Superlight seems to be the cheapest option out there, but as a relatively small guy (150 lbs) I wonder if the JP's extra volume (relative to other light wind models, SB Ultrasonic, RRD) would be overkill.

Also, given the high cost of the specialized light wind designs, I wonder how much difference there would be between those and a more standard free ride board of equivalent volume?

And wondering about the general usability of current light wind offerings in the Midwest. I'm in Chicago, but do a lot of summer sailing at Torch Lake in northern Michigan (as inland lakes go it's large, but still subject to typical inland spotty/gusty wind). I know longboards are favored in those sorts of light wind conditions, but I already have a couple ancient longboards and not sure something modern like a Kona would be that much of an upgrade.

Finally, my largest sail is an 8.5 Ezzy Cheetah. Is that big enough to take advantage of something like a JP Superlight? Again I don't weigh a lot - would moving up to 9.5 Ezzy Lion (cammed) make a big difference?

Ultra light-wind short boards ? 1 year 8 months ago #2

Current board Starboard Atom IQ (not atomic)

Ultra light-wind short boards ? 1 year 8 months ago #3

Good questions on boards. I ride an ultra sonic 147 (or is it 148???) with a 58cm fin and 8.0 sailworks. With gear I'm about 190 fat pounds. That combo is what I end up using 85% of the time. It depends on what "light wind" is for you. For me, it's the least amount of wind you can sail and still get on a plane. The board was the biggest investment in my 35 years of windsurfing. How did I justify the nearly $2,500 expense? Well It's a board that I'll keep riding another 20 years until the body breaks down and I have to take up an easy sport like.....kiting :-0. That's basically $100 a year. If you take care of the board, it will be worth the expense.
Before I bought the SB i did look at the JP. Four years ago I thought SB was ahead of the curve in several ways (Concave deck, cutaways, thin profile) over the JP. I'm not sure what the 2015-16 JP version looks like. HOWEVER, I believe there is a local selling their JP ultralight.....If that's the case, and the price is right, I'd go with the JP.


Ultra light-wind short boards ? 1 year 8 months ago #4

Looks like your board is 80cm wide - which is pretty wide. The JP is 90cm wide (or 92) so that is a decent jump in size - you would notice it. There is a bit of overlap, you would likely just be riding your AtomIQ more on the higher side of its wind range. Since it's a freeride it probably handles a decent amount of wind even though it is 80wide. Get another smaller fin for the AtomIQ and you can extend its high wind range.

Adding a 9.5 sail would also help. Sailing a 90 wide board with a 9.5 can be a bit more "physical" but the ezzy's are supposed to be easy to sail (as opposed to a slalom/formula 9.5).

Longboards are great options too. 8.5 on a longboard can be a blast until it is enough to jump on your AtomIQ. On a day of 8-15 (common) when you are just bobbing around 80% of the time, a longboard will get you on the water and moving around the lake without getting stranded - and during that 20% when you are powered up it still planes and really isn't much slower than shortboard anyway. I am referring to longboards from late 80s and newer though (flat bottom/planing with adjustable tracks and straps like Equipe, IMCO, EquipeII, Megacats, etc.) - you said "ancient" so perhaps they are non planing hulls which definitely don't perform the same.

Ultra light-wind short boards ? 1 year 8 months ago #5

Thanks for the input.

Chris, glad to hear you get a lot of use out of your SB. Would probably be my first choice (over JP) but the 2016 is over 3k. There's a 2015 somewhere for 2500, still pricier than the JP. And yeah, thus far I've never regretted throwing down for something I know I'm going to like and use a lot, but I too have to think in terms amortizing the cost to be able to pull the trigger on a super big ticket item. Like you I consider light wind the minimum amount to plane, but there are plenty of days where I sail when things are up and down right around that threshold. I guess slogging is slogging, but wondering how the SB does in marginal conditions.

Adam, my longboard is a Mistral from '85. It's heavy but still fun for cruising. My very first board and I'm glad I held on to it - For awhile I did regard it as hopelessly obsolete, good for teaching only, but in maturity I savor any time on the water and some days it's clearly the best choice.

Back to my original question - a large free move board like a 140 RRD Firemove is also 90cm like the JP Superlight. Again wondering if the early planing performance of the specialized board would be significantly or only subtly better. Also recall reading somewhere that people didn't like the largest Firemoves (the smaller ones are great - have sailed them a lot as rental gear)

Ultra light-wind short boards ? 1 year 8 months ago #6

I don't have experience on the large firemove or the JPsuperlightwind - but I have sailed a few formula boards. The extra volume in the JP board will help it jump on a plane - the width extends furhter to the tail as well. It will definitely plane sooner in my opinion but also be more "blasty" and more technical to sail (straps way out on the tail with the tail being wider too).

Ultra light-wind short boards ? 1 year 8 months ago #7

  • Ady
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I think you are already overboarded and way oversailed! I did a simmilar thing few years ago when searching for a earlier planing solution then my 8.5 Switchblade and 112 Firerace at the time. I went for a 9.0 Retro and a 136L JP Supersport -both brand new.

Honestly I never got especially happy with this kit and on top of that I may have permanently damaged my elbows by handling all this weight. A season and a half later I finally started realising that by improving my planing technique I can do almost the same with a smaller sail and board. Fast forward to present and now I have a small -9' Windsup /fits inside my car/ for non planing days 0-10 kts and I sail in those days only when I take my wife to the beach.

My big planing kit now is a 7.5 Retro and a 110 AtomIQ /10-20 knts/. Not always planing but I can Hellytack with it and I dont come in to downsize often. I'm 168lbs.

I would recommend you to try the following and then decide if you still want a bigger kit.
Try using a sail that you are actually able to power up and sheat in efficiently: for your weight a 7.0 or simmilar will do. Schlog upwind always and as soon as you see and feel a gust UNHOOK / if you are hooked in/ , BEAR OF by scissoring the board with your legs / easier done with a smaller board/, get LOW over your back leg and extend your arms holding the boom NARROW . You can try trowing a 2/3 pumps aswell /a lot easier with a smaller sail/ but its not mandatory. Below is a great picture seuence by Jem Hall about that same thing . The unhooked version is more efficient!

PS: make sure your sail has a very little outhaul- just next to neutral and let go of the downhaul some in lighter winds.

Ultra light-wind short boards ? 1 year 8 months ago #8

  • Ady
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In a very typical fashion I forgot to mention the most important arguments against buying ever bigger kits beyond the obvious: price; weight; not much to do with and eventual serious damage to the body /spine, joints/. And they are that if you dont have the strenght and weight to use a certain sail size maximum efficiently ,it becomes just a dead weight that will efectively decrease your planing threshold instead of improving it. For my 168lbs not very athletic body the max sail size that I can handle efficiently is 7.5. Also with your max efficient biggest sail you may need around 15 knts to start planing /after bearing of etc/ but you may need as little as 10 kts to sustain that planing after that.
There is a struggle for years now to replace those big sais/big boards with something more efficient that have started with the kites and now more and more popular in Europe -FOILING. Both of those require specific conditions though so I chose the WindSUP as the most practical for me light wind solution that allows me to do infinite number of maneuvers with a small sail or paddle , but I dont obsess myself with planing every time, all the time, at any cost /anymore/.

Ultra light-wind short boards ? 1 year 8 months ago #9

Andy, thanks for your take.

I dunno, all I can say is that I felt pretty comfortable with my 8.5. It paired up quite well with my Atom 120 in moderate conditions. I was even using it conditions when I would ordinarily have switched to my 6.5, but the 8.5 - so long as I wasn't crazy overpowered- was just more fun for me. Part of that is its newness and its better mast.

Seems like your larger board was more of a freeride type. What I'm looking at is derived from formula boards, sort of a different animal. Never tried formula but from what I understand it is a more physically demanding style of sailing, not for everyone. Supposedly the newer light wind designs in question are more user friendly, but still significantly different shape than standard freeride/slalom.

Something about going fast in light conditions really appeals to me - less chop, less beating by the elements generally. I enjoy toodling around working on freestyle tricks too, just not the same.

Ultra light-wind short boards ? 1 year 8 months ago #10

Oops Ady, not Andy. And looking at your previous posts of course you know way more about Formula and the whole range of boards than I do. Newbie to the forum. FWIW 8.5 in action with Atom. Cirrus clouds far more beautiful than jibe.

Ultra light-wind short boards ? 1 year 8 months ago #11

  • Ady
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Hey Chris, it seems like you've tried to upload and image but failed. It's probably because its file size exceeds the limit. You can make a copy which you can edit by cropping some non essential parts of the background and then it usualy falls within the size limit.

Ultra light-wind short boards ? 1 year 8 months ago #12

Formula boards get physical to sail because you are so far away from the fin - you can really only sail upwind/downwind. Granted smaller fin makes it easier (you don't have to run 70cm - in fact the SF sailors went to like 64s/62s for a time being due to conditions they sail in). Anyway, just being so far away from the fin makes it more physical. 90cm is relatively comfortable though. I spent an entire summer on a Prodigy in college and that was pretty comfortable to sail - looks like that was 87cm wide. I'm quite a fan of that board - it would actually be a great option for you since you will never get stranded on it. I sailed it right next to a formula board and it didn't give up much - couldn't quite get the same angle upwind. Much more comfortable to sail though.

Having said that, the superlightwind is meant to be sailed powered up. Sailing sheeted out/lazy isn't really an option (no inboard straps) - or at least is not comfortable. Sounds like you are interested in blasting around though. The board will improve your technique - higher performance boards behave badly without proper technique (fly out of the water, etc.).
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